Sometimes, unfortunately, despite the best efforts of medical science more extensive measures are necessary in order to give patients a degree of independence. This could involve, for instance, special adaptations to a wheelchair to enable it to be controlled by just a finger, or even a patient's mouth; and wheelchairs can be adapted to include both cameras and other sensors to enable it to move around controlled areas in a safe manner. Mechanical arms have been created which will respond to voice commands and carry out simple tasks under the control of the patient. Artificial arms and legs have been developed to such a fine degree that athletes who have been fitted with them are not only compete on equal terms with so-called able-bodied people, but actually surpass them in performance.

Simply creating these aids is, however, only a part of the process. Simply providing someone with an artificial limb or other aid is not sufficient; the patient has to to learn how to use them, not only effectively but also safely. Parallel with this is a need to train these patients to adjust to other common tasks, despite disabilities; for example how many of us would know how to unscrew a bottle top with one hand, or judge a distance with just one eye? It can take many hours of patient training by highly skilled professionals to help disabled people to cope with many such tasks, which the majority of us are able to take for granted.

 

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